Friday, September 21, 2012

strangle all the x-mas carolers

            It’s vodka and soda water out of paper cups these nights. I lie stupefied until some simulacrum of sleep wafts over me. I found a tangerine in my coat pocket today. I didn’t wonder what it meant at all. I tossed it to a beggar with a mesh hat on reading: “Time’s Wasting Time.” I didn’t think too hard on that either. It doesn’t pay to invest too much thought in these things, I find.
            We’re not talking; we’re writing letters to each other almost every day though.
            The damn postman wakes me from the deepest of sleep. I bring in a package with a note affixed to it reading, “This is not a disclaimer.” The package goes in the closet, along with the snail shells and the girly magazines. I am running out of places to put things-- and, also, ways to put them.  
            Barely, if it were an at-all, you can’t make a horse drink its own piss, but you can be the sort of person who grabs at her own face when she’s tired. Me? I get what’s coming to me. Plenty and then some. Do not worry about the classier confines of my pecks at normalcy. Hardly a Noah’s Ark of a place to do your plangent bidding in. Flip all the quarters you’ve got; I’ll still come to my senses head-down and out. Miffed is becoming my natural state. I tell myself, “Don’t worry about the tomatoes. Just keep the ketchup to yourself.” It adds a stylish bowsprit to my ways at least, and that’s more than I can say for my means. Who knows? I might be fooling a clodhopper version of myself into retribution. That’d do for a cheat’s perspective, if learning were curved in the direction of hot-hot-hot, but likelier stories aren’t getting told just yet. Mediocrity’s stiffed me again. I’m left with frozen toes and blurry eyes, and my heart’s a can of corn in the outfield of my regret. Just as well. I’m run over and dragged around by the usual and commonplace-- something that’s beginning to suit me more and more with each passing drink. 
            In pursuit-- that’s a killer-- of chased long ways out, though shorter still than placing blame in the crispness of fall air. If a shuffle would do for a costume, an alias at that, I’d navigate towards chancier shores. But being unrealistic as always, I fail to chump it up to some walk-of-the-mill handiwork and lose touch with distant relations to myself in the process. Pigeons turn to rabbits. I become emotionally attached to the bricks of old churches. Woe? Not me. Definitely not.
            The favorite colors of fist shakers are listed on a scrap torn from a Chinese-restaurant receipt: red, Indian-war-paint red, stop-sign red, gazpacho red, fire-truck red, redeye red, burgundy.                    
            So, I’m running to the law instead of from it, and in a pinch I could masquerade as a non-potable water drinker, unquenchable in my traditionalist beliefs. They make models for lesser squares in the drastic compassion of honeymooners and Jacuzzi waders. I have a lot of reservations but not a table to my name. ‘Frown more,’ the gulls seem to be squawking at me. ‘Tarnish your image. Verify your address in the bathroom mirror 14 times an hour. Hint and squint and move. And move. And move.’ I do not completely trust them.
            Less is my lease on gaining ground when it comes to cashing a royalty check for $7.43. I go around hunting for something I can buy with my earnings. A pair of silver chopsticks? No. Only the bamboo ones. Perhaps a ball of twine, or the charred blue-tinged remains of a hotel lamppost. A signed photograph of Ollie North? So many disparate decisions to consider. Maybe I’ll just take in a matinee at the Prospero auditorium. No popcorn, and just a sip from the water fountain.
            What would I have done? What resilience could I have mustered in the name of being peripherally sober long enough to care about such things as what I’d made or was making of myself? Instead I repaired to the shelter of a bottle and its promise of dreamless enterprises. My skin crawls with invisible ants.
            “Shop to it!” Somebody screams on the street outside my window. “Get your ready self made!” It must be time for lunch.
            Shred my past and tickertape the sky with it. My spirits are on loan to the cloud scraps littered motionless above. Humphrey has become my middle name. I’m trouble, and I don’t know why, in and out of my mind. Forget what the newspapers are all saying. I’m rolled and floored and chattered to death. Over the blinds’ pull, under the never-saids, right behind what’s too scared to smile. I hide. I hide. The room’s bitter and darkening. Nowhere’s the place where I’m from. I’ve said it all, jerks. I’ve done more than a dip-shit’s share. Now the flags are down and all the causes are just-because, just because.
            “Still, we’re what’s missed, still.”
            I hear something in the drainpipes. It only calls what isn’t my name.
            “All the saints I know are dressed in rags covered by holy raincoats, kid. Let’s not mistake generals for hairdressers.”
            Soon it is time to run the garbage disposal. There will be love pounding the walls, and my neighbor is making his demands in the vacuum’s roar. In the mood to talk to strangers, maybe, until the night shoulders through the sun-dappled freight of me, until the jacks are all coming up aces. Before all the hullabaloo gets to starting I better be getting back to my paper cup. Who knows what dementia sundown might be riding into town on?
            Tossing baby carrots at the window, and then out the window, I am soon being hassled by some doofus in plaid who’s yodel-screaming up at me, “My head’s not for this! Stop your drops. Be still in your ammunition. I can’t be a target for blindness.” I close the window. I can still hear him, but it’s muffled. He’s much more easy to take this way, but I do miss tossing the tiny carrots.
            I cannot for the life-and-or-death of me find a coaster in this damn place. I’m just wincing over where to put my cup down. The rug will have to do.
            The colonel let’s his pleasure dictate his whereabouts. The smokestacks of love fill his emptiness with a raw wonder, and he drills imaginary soldiers in his boxers. Wherever the safest spree is he kills it. We are not as close as we once were, when the airplanes chucked bombs at innocent mountains and roads, when the cops were hunting chickens, when nobody needed a waitress or a shoeblack, when the wind called you names, when we stretched rubber bands until they snapped. It is not like it was; it never is.
            Cooperate. My senses are not with me. Insensate. Per the chance it took.
            In irons we soared. The air would hold us as we were. Swimming’s nothing without water. We didn’t believe it. Touched or laughed at just the same. Pale is never the only shade of light around. Airplanes droning and the rush of wind through leafless trees. We had rhino-skin prayers. We had intolerable destinies to contend with. Guards? They threw us out with the bronze and the hammers. I had dreams of writing my name in wet cement, and then other names, and then still others too. We tuckered out before noon. Now my country’s a bottle. My dreams are at the bottom of a paper cup. Don’t tell me what’s wrong. I’ve already got enough to wash away. And all this? All this is is wrecked. Usher me away. I won’t forget the stakes. And here, well, I think it’ll all oddly even out in the middle.
            My best suit’s gathering mold on the back of a chair I never use for sitting. I’m better off windswept these days. It’s what’ll do until my best arrives, maybe through the mail slot. Who knows? Until then, I’ll take my chances with what’s left in the bottle. And then some. And then some more.